I’m very grateful to Allan who is a Shared Lives carer with PSS Scotland for very kindly writing about his journey into Shared Lives, providing daytime support to local people:
My name is Allan and I retired as a police officer about four years ago. My hobbies include amateur football refereeing and fair weather motor biking. When I retired from the police I decided to take some time out to do some projects around the house. After about a year and a half all the jobs were done and I decided that it was now time to have a think about what to do with some of my time in the future.
My wife Moira was a little surprised that I was interested in working in social care, but as always she was very supportive and I found out about Shared Lives. Meeting PSS Scotland was the start of an adventure and ongoing learning process for me, which opened my eyes to a lot. A couple of weeks after being approved as an ‘Adult Placement Carer’ I was introduced to ‘Sally’ (all names changed) a very pleasant young lady who was looking for day support several days a week. After being thoroughly briefed and advised we ventured out together. In next to no time we both seemed to click. I gained a lot of good experience very quickly and was glad of the sound advice provided by those more experienced than I. Within a short time of meeting Moira, she and Sally were engrossed in craft making and I was really pleased and relieved that Sally had taken to us all so quickly. Although I no longer support Sally regularly, I am sometimes called upon to help out now and again, which I look forward to immensely.
Peter, who I’ve supported now for the best part of two years several days a week, is a similar age to me and he has learning, physical and communication difficulties. I really enjoy being in his company and I think he feels the same. I encourage Peter to decide what he wants to do at any time I am supporting him and I get great satisfaction when I see him thinking for himself and making good sound decisions about many things. Peter occasionally visits my home and has got to know Moira, my boys and my sister and Mum pretty well. I was impressed at how Peter engaged my youngest son Aaron, bringing Aaron out of his shell and improving his confidence and ability to interact with him. Peter is particularly interested in music, so we’ve been to one or two events hearing live amateur musicians which we really enjoy – despite our difference in musical tastes!
I support Richard, who is now 91 years young, one morning a week. Richard has some mobility issues and is partially sighted. I really look forward to meeting up with him help him to do some shopping. Richard is as ‘sharp as a tack’ and is such a fun loving individual with a sharp and witty sense of humour who seems to really enjoy life. He is quite simply a joy to be with and spending time with him is one of the highlights of my week – we really have a good fun when together.
Finally, I support Simon one afternoon a week. Simon, who uses a wheel chair when out and about, is a very direct and forthright individual. Patience, tact and diplomacy are very often the order of the day – but he may say the same about me. This aside, we both see eye to eye on most things and I enjoy his company. Our day generally ends up with a pint at the local but for the avoidance of any doubt I stick to the soft stuff.
Since becoming an Adult Placement Carer I have met many wonderful people and I count myself privileged to be in a position to provide practical and needed support. I have learned so much since taking up this role and get great satisfaction from it. In short, I really love it.